The informal acronym "LOCI" stands for "Letter of Continued Interest," a communication that law school applicants typically send after being waitlisted to let the school know that they are still interested. This is a necessary step in trying to get admitted off any waitlist (see #2 out of the only 3 things that matter on the waitlist here), and this blog will walk you through some key "dos" and "don'ts" to keep in mind while you're drafting yours.
What is a Law School LOCI?
LOCIs are similar to the "Why X" essays that you may have submitted to some schools as part of your original applications (more on Why X essays here), but with some added waitlist-specific logistics. Many law schools give specific instructions for the content, formatting, and/or submission of your LOCI, so first and foremost, be sure to review any instructions they may have given you (in the original waitlist email, in subsequent emails, or as part of any online resources they may have linked in such emails).
In lieu of specific formatting instructions from the law school, your LOCI should typically be formatted like a letter, and you should aim for be no more than one page with 11- to 12-point font and normal margins.
Essentially, you want to communicate the following:
- Why you are interested in that law school in a personal, substantive (i.e., not generic) way
- Any relevant updates to your application since you submitted
- The strongest truthful statement you can make about the level of your interest in that law school (more below)
Outline of a Strong Law School LOCI
- Briefly thank the law school for their continued consideration of your application.
- State your interest in the law school as strongly as you honestly can. Is it one of your top choices? Is it your absolute first choice and has been from the start? If admitted, would you immediately withdraw from all other schools where you've been admitted and place a deposit? Would you 100% attend over all other law schools on your list, period? Let them know.
- Talk about any personal connections with the law school community or any interactions you have had. This is the simplest and often best way to avoid sounding generic and to show that you've put special effort into getting to know that law school. If you've visited the law school, had a conversation with a current student or alum about their experience, visited the law school's table at a forum or fair, or even attended a virtual admissions webinar, those are all concrete experiences you can discuss that contributed to your interest in the law school beyond just looking them up online. Be concise, but get specific—who did you speak to? What did they tell you? How did that affect your view of the law school? Adding this type of personal element will keep your letter from coming across as boilerplate.
- Highlight a few key substantive reasons that you are so interested in that law school—but don't just list them. Tell them why these things are important to you and resonate with you. Why is a small class size so helpful for your learning style? Why is the work their students are doing in a particular clinic so meaningful to you? Don't just tell them the aspects of their program that appeal to you; tell them why.
- If applicable, mention any personal/logistical reasons that the law school (or where it's located) may be especially appealing to you. Applicants often ask us if they should include such reasons even if they don't have anything to do with the law school itself, and the answer, the vast majority of the time, is absolutely yes! If you currently live in the area of the law school and need to stay there due to personal/familial responsibilities, if your spouse or significant other just got into a grad program at the same university or in the same city, if the location is one that's good for your spouse or significant other's career and they plan to relocate with you, if the location has a robust community of people from your culture or religion and that's important to you—these are all aspects of your decision-making process that can help the law school to discern your likelihood of attending if admitted, which is a huge part of their waitlist equation.
- Provide any meaningful updates to your application. This may include an additional semester of grades, awards you have received, completing a substantial research or writing project, a promotion at work, or plans for the summer, for a few examples. This doesn't apply to everyone; don't manufacture an update if you don't have one.
- In your conclusion, express your gratitude again, then reiterate your interest and give them a sense of your plans. Are you able to remain on the waitlist until the first day of classes? If so, tell them.
Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Law School LOCI
- Never include misleading statements. Please be honest in your LOCIs, because (1) it is the ethical thing to do, (2) schools can often tell, and (3) it could hurt you otherwise. For example, if you tell a school that you'd drop everything in late August to attend, while in reality you are going to have to finalize your law school plans by June due to life circumstances, that law school might look at your application in June, see that you're willing to wait, and hold off until early July to see how their data shakes out, while if you'd been honest about your intentions, they may have made you an offer a little early. If you tell a law school that you would immediately withdraw from all of your other acceptances to attend regardless of scholarship money, while in reality you would need a certain dollar amount over your current offer to attend, the admissions office may be far less apt to grant your request for scholarship reconsideration when they see that you were dishonest in your earlier communications with them. There are ways to express strong interest without being disingenuous.
- Don't spend your LOCI just telling the law school about themselves. Simply listing attributes of the law school or programs that they offer does not add value. Law schools read hundreds of LOCIs that simply list things they already know about their law school without extrapolating to why those aspects of the law school are appealing to them.
- Avoid being careless or formulaic. We have seen LOCIs submitted with the wrong law school's name, but there are subtler ways of showing carelessness or lack of research that law schools will notice as well, e.g. citing the law school's strength in a particular area of law when that isn't something the law school is actually known for. You don't necessarily need to reinvent the wheel each time you write a new LOCI, but put the time and thought in to personalize a letter each school, and do it well.